Sunday, October 28, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 44

Week 44: Genealogy Conferences. What was your best genealogy conference experience? Why is it so memorable in your mind? Who hosted the event? What did you learn from this experience? How does it impact your genealogy research today?

RootsTech 2012!   The energy of this conference is definitely a notch above any other conference I've attended.  Perfect blend of genealogy and technology.  And to add to the excitement is the fact it is in Salt Lake City near the Family History Library.  Conferences inspire me to keep learning, not to even imagine I've found all the records of my ancestors, and to keep trying to break through those brick walls. Since it's scheduled for March in 2013 I won't be able to attend again.  Bummer.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 43

Week 43: Memorable Genealogy Moment. Think back to when you first started researching your family history. Is there a memorable early genealogy moment that stands out in your mind? Describe this event or discovery and how it impacted your research going forward.

In 1992, I had the task of cleaning out my in-law's house after they had both passed away.  Their sons worked full time - they had lived in the house over 40 years.  Things came in, nothing much had ever gone out, since they moved in.  In a desk drawer, I found a large brown envelope with a return address in Ladonia, Texas, where both my mother-in law and father-in-law had been born and it had a post mark from the 1970's.  When I looked inside, it contained information on the Wishard families - the family of my father-in-law's maternal grandmother, along with a request for information on the current family of my in-laws.

I had been thinking about doing some family research as I had a book on my mother's family and had always wondered how much of it was correct. The material in the envelope was really interesting but only had the Wishards back a few generations, along with a rather fanciful story of how they arrived in America.  The story of the early generations and the facts on the more current generations did not meet in the middle.  I love solving puzzles and certainly this qualified.

I decided to try and get in touch with the person whose name was inscribed therein and whose address was on the envelope.  I knew that not much changed in the small town of Ladonia, so I just called information and got the number of the first person with that surname.  The gentleman who answered the phone was the son of the lady who had prepared the envelope of materials.  He told me she was in a nursing home, in bad health, but mentally alert, and he was sure she'd like to know I was interested in the family history.

A few days later, I received a return phone call.  Not only was my researcher thrilled to know someone else was interested in knowing more about the Wishards and trying to continue the research, but she had directed her son to mail me additional information she had compiled during the intervening twenty years.  No one in her immediate family had any interest.

I believe finding the envelope and being able to make contact, was the beginning of how I've spent much of my time over the past twenty years.  I was able to connect the generations and document the Wishards back to the immigrant although there's still a great deal of doubt about his story. My benefactor died only a few months after I contacted her son.  Finding that big brown envelope was definitely my first genealogy serendipity.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 42

Week 42: Biggest Genealogy Accomplishment. What do you feel is your biggest genealogy accomplishment? What were the steps you took to get there, and what was the end result?

I can't say that I've had a "big" genealogy accomplishment.  Putting together my family tree has been a step-by-step and day-by-day endeavor. I've had multiple thrilling moments when I was able to hold an original document in my hand in an archives. I've had those gratifying moments when the genealogy-technogical world collided and I was able to get that report I wanted out of my software, or upload my webpage and it both looked and functioned as I intended.  I've broken through minor brick walls, but often that was done either with the aid of new-found genealogy Internet friend or genealogy work that had been done previously. Collaboration with other researchers has helped sort out some difficult problems when earlier faulty research had led us down the wrong path.  I've been very happy to have helped others connect to their families or to  helped them find records they did not know existed.  It could be that my biggest accomplishment was the day I decided to start this journey and see what I could find out about my family!  I discovered my passion which has enriched my life in so many ways.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 41

Week 41: Past Genealogy Resources. Nothing good lasts forever and that is definitely true in family history. Think of all the genealogy tools, magazines or websites that no longer exist. Which one stands out in your mind and why? Are there still archives of this tool that can be accessed by the public? Share any information you may have.

I am very sad that The Maybury Family newsletter ceased publication with the Fall, 2011 issue.  The newletters had been published by Don Collins since 1995 and have been of help to me in my own personal research of my Maybury/Mabry/Mayberry lineage, but has been very interesting and sometimes fun to read.

The website is The Maybury Family and there is a link on that page to the email address for Don Collins, as well as many other links to the research of this family and the Y-DNA project.  At the time he ceased publication of The Maybury Family, Mr. Collins was hopeful that he could combine all the newsletters on a searchable CD.  If such an event happens, and I certainly hope it does, an announcement should appear on the webpage.